Archive for California

Alex Turns Three

Alex and his new cameraAlex, our eldest great grandchild (we have two total with another expected in November), was celebrating his third birthday today. Last May, when we were visiting the grandkids in Northern California, I let little Alex “borrow” my little pocket sized Canon A710IS. At 2½ years old, he managed to take a few good photos among the messed-up ones you might expect from a kid that age.

So, for his birthday today, we sent him a Kid Zoom Camera designed for kids 3 to 8 years old. The photo above shows him with his new camera just after opening it.

We will likely return to Northern California later this year to celebrate the arrival of Alex’s little brother. We shall see what progress Alex has made with being an expert photobug at that time.

Photo via FecesBook™ posted by my eldest granddaughter. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Camping - Stockton, CA


Pulled into Damsel’s Sister’s driveway to set up for a few days visit. This is less than full-on camping, since we are house guests except when we sleep in the RV.

There were other things on the agenda for the ladies, like shopping and getting manicures and haircuts in town. Us guys watched baseball and hung out while they were doing their thing.

We did take a side trip to the north SF Bay area to visit with a couple of the grandkids and their children, the “Greats.” The little girl was just nineteen days old, but Great Grandson Alex is two and a half and developing quite a personality. We enjoyed that part of the visit very much.

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Camping - Visalia, CA

Visalia Camping Spot

Well, we’re camped here in the Central California Valley, about 25 miles west of the Sequoia National Forest. It’s a nice little KOA park away from the highway in an industrial/residential/agricultural and recreational area. Yep - some of each.

We are relaxed and comfortable after a fairly challenging commute from the LA Basin through the Grapevine and up the California central valley. It goes without saying that there was traffic and partial blockage as we departed the basin. In the mountain passes, we struggled with gusty crosswinds which adds a new dimension to driving a nearly 36 foot “slab side” RV. Needless to say we were relieved to arrive safely at our destination and campsite for the evening.

Tomorrow will find us, God willing, at Damsel’s sister’s place up the road from here. We’re planning on spending several days there before heading back home via the long way through Nevada, Utah and Northern Arizona. There will be another “camping at” photo tomorrow or the next day.

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Announcing a Blessed Arrival

Baby Maci

Announcing our second great grandchild and our first great granddaughter. Meet little Maci - Born last night (4/12) at around 10:30, 7.3 lbs, 19¼ inches. Perfection!

We will formally meet the little one early next month when we take our spring excursion to Northern California to visit family. After that, we will take the long, scenic way home.

The other granddaughter, mother of our great grandson has also announced a new arrival due in November of this year. We’re going to be busy doting for a while. ;)

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Desert Camping Again

Desert Camping Again

Damsel and I drove the usual route down US 60 to I-10 and on into the RV park in Palm Desert, CA. It was a good trip with lots of desert wildflowers, lots of sunshine and at one point, lots of traffic. The latter only lasting a few miles just east of Chiriaco Summit where there was some construction and a one-lane restriction on I-10 westbound. Regardless of the brief slowdown, it was a pleasure to drive the new RV along the route.

As I mentioned in the post about the maiden voyage, this is likely our last trip to this campground for a while. We will, however, be on the road again next month for a longer excursion.

One quick anecdote about this campsite; we backed in to the parking slot and set up camp as usual. However, when we went to deploy the Winegard DirecTV satellite dish, it got fouled up in the low hanging branches of the Chinese Elm tree next to the site. I wound up having to break camp and move the rig to the right and forward on the pad to allow the dish to have unimpeded access to the part of the sky where the geosats hang out. After the move, everything is working great.

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Maiden Voyage

Palazzo in Palm Desert

On Friday, we finished preparations for our initial excursion in the new RV. We had been stocking the RV with the necessities ever since we brought it home from the dealer. Naturally, we didn’t remember everything, so we went without some items and improvised on others. Damsel has been keeping a log of things we need the next time. It will be better next month.

The drive out was a pretty good test for the new rig. We encountered gusty winds and the usual rough road on select places along I-10. The Palazzo handled much better than our previous class A. The new air ride smoothed out the teeth-chattering bad spots on I-10 between Quartzsite and Blythe to mere thuds underneath rather than the entire inventory of dishes and other things on board banging up and down. The rear-engine configuration allowed normal conversation in the cockpit rather than having to shout to be heard, especially when in lower gears going uphill.

We will be back out here again sometime in March for another visit. In April, however, we have a longer excursion planned to Northern California to welcome our second great grandchild who is due the middle of that month. We will also take some scenic routes along the way going and returning.

We are enjoying the new rig and accessories. The DirecTV receiver allows us to view our regular programming just like we were at home. Wait! We ARE at home away from home. :D

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January Campsite

January Campsite

We’re in our usual desert RV park visiting the kids and grandson. As you can see from the photo, the campground is nearly full. There are a few sites here and there that are empty. Many of the license plates on the RVs are from colder states whose occupants are obviously here to escape winter. A.K.A “Snowbirds.”

I met one of the neighbors who hails from Spokane; he and his wife will be camped here until March. He mentioned that back home there is eighteen inches of snow on the ground. I cannot blame those northerners who are able to escape the winter weather for heading south during the winter.

Damsel and I look at the license plates at home in Wickenburg too, since our town is a very popular place for snowbirds and rodeo participants. Thursday last, we counted a dozen or more from places like Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and even a couple from Alaska.

While Damsel and I are bundled up against our “winter” conditions (highs in the 50’s), some of those guys show up at the store in shorts and T shirts. I guess coldness is a relative thing.

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